Basketball’s international governing body announced today that it will not stand in the way of locked out NBA players who wish to play overseas during the current labour dispute.FIBA says it will grant clearance (and the NBA will not object) allowing players under NBA contact to play for any FIBA team, on two conditions:
They must return to their NBA team as soon as lockout ends, and if they get hurt … they’re on their own.
This new development significantly complicates the NBA lockout picture and represents a huge boon to the players.
Now, not only do none of the players need to worry about making money during a protracted labour stoppage – though those with large guaranteed contracts may not be willing to risk their future earning on an injury – seeing some of the league’s biggest stars playing real basketball in countries that are not the United States is the worst public relations disaster the NBA could hope for.
At the moment, there’s no indication the two sides are anywhere close to deal, but we’ll see if this gets the NBA thinking a little harder about their option when they return to negotiations next week.
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